In My Kitchen – August 2013

Welcome to another addition of In My Kitchen, the brain child of dear Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

I love these posts, they’re my favourite and I have to confess, I do deliberate all month over what I’m going to post. What do I have in my kitchen thats ‘interesting’

Keeping up this blog has been particularly challenging this month. I quit my job, completed a hand over, started a new job, completed training and along the way have been dealing with a ‘terrible two’ who is the perfect child in the eyes of my parents but turns into a little devil when we’re home. I digress.

So, In My Kitchen this month are:

ghar laurel soap

Ghar Soap (Aleppo Soap)

My husband, while Armenian in background was born in Aleppo, Syria. The only soap that he has ever know growing up was Ghar soap, a pure and natural soap from his home town made from olive and bay leaves (olive oil and laurel oil).  He has converted me into using this hard block soap, and I have never looked back since realising the healing properties and seeing it first hand on my dermatitis and psoriasis prone skin.

I am very anti ‘aniti-bacterial’ soaps, liquid soaps, and chemical ridden products in the kitchen and bathroom. More so now since being a mother and reading the unnecessarily long list of chemicals in ‘natural’ and ‘gentle’ soaps and baby products.

A fun fact is that unlike most soaps, Ghar soap will float in water!

You can buy Ghar soap in all Middle Eastern specialty stores and deli’s.

In My Kitchen:

heston from waitrose chocolate sauce

Heston Blumenthal ‘From Waitrose’ Chocolate Sauce

My beautiful friend Lucinda kindly offered to bring dessert at a luncheon I recently hosted and brought this deliciousness in a jar that is Heston’s chocolate sauce with a punnet of strawberries. You pop the jar into the microwave for a few minutes and out comes the most delicious, rich and indulgent dipping sauce for your choice of fruit, marshmallows etc. The sauce is strangely dairy free, instead, being based on a wheat glucose syrup making it suitable for vegans too. The ingredients also contain Madagascan dark chocolate, cocoa liquor, cocoa powder, sea salt and espresso natural flavouring.

While the sugar content is very high, the dark chocolate is quite bitter, creating a lovely balance of flavours neither bitter nor sweet.

The jar calls for it to be eaten ‘hot or cold’ however you would need a shovel to excavate the chocolate if you attempt to eat it cold. It solidifies stiff and isn’t as pleasant to eat. Go hot, gooey and yummy 😉

In My Kitchen:


Ceramic Egg Holder

I’ve always wanted a ceramic egg holder, since seeing one somewhere. I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw it first, perhaps a blog, magazine or shop front but since then I have been looking high and low for one. No such luck until I walked into the fashion store Sussan to buy myself some winter pj’s and there, in a clothes store of all places was this beauty. Best of all, it was marked down on the clearance table to $4.00!

In My Kitchen:

Caramel Lebanese coffee

Caramel Lebanese Coffee

I don’t drink a lot of coffee at home. I’m very much a tea person, but every now and then I crave a hot, sludge and sandy Lebanese coffee. A 1kg bag of Caramel brand coffee lives in our freezer and makes the most delicious brew.


It is made on the cookstove, traditionally for every cup of water, you add one teaspoon of coffee and one teaspoon of sugar. Bring it to the boil and make sure you ‘catch it’. By that I mean once it starts boiling, it rapidly rises to the surface and you will have a royal mess if you don’t remove the pot straight away. The coffee is not filtered so at the end of your glass you will have the ‘sand’ which is not drinkable.

Enjoy it with a piece of baklava when you’re in need for a sweet hit 😉

Lebanese coffee baklava

And there you have another edition of IMK, this month, August 2013!

Check out my previous In My Kitchen posts here


53 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – August 2013

  1. What an extremely busy and stressful-sounding month you have had, and a sweet treat or two would therefore be much called for…I hope things are going well in your new job and you have a calmer August! I love your In My Kitchen posts, you have so many interesting things in your kitchen. The soap from Aleppo sounds amazing and I hope the people there can continue to make it while living under such terrible conditions in the war…
    I wonder where your friend got the Heston’s choc sauce from…is it available in specialty stores in Oz? And what a find from Sussan’s and at that bargain price! I can’t remember when the fashion stores started to include gifts as well as clothes but I do love seeing what they come up with 😉
    Have a great August!

    • Thanks so much Danielle, you’re lovely xx
      I’m not sure where the chocolate sauce is from. It’s definitely here in Sydney. I’ll ask her next time and let you know 🙂
      The Sussan find was really quite something! I’ve been trawling the homeware stores for a very long time and a fashion store of all places stocks it! They had all sorts of random items on the table! From memory, the egg holders, microwave wheat packs, fashionable stationary! Very odd 😉

  2. Sorry you have been having a trying time of late, hope everything settles down soon.
    You have wonderful delights to share with us this month – I love seeing things that I won’t see here at home.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  3. Hi Lisa. That soap does sounds good, I am going to check it out. Thanks for the coffee instructions. I will give it go. Those coffees look pretty big. You will be high for a week if it is like the coffees we had in Lebanon.

  4. We do an olive oil soap and I’m going to order that next month to try as your soap sounds so interesting. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your new job and the toddler 🙂

  5. Your soap looks interesting – like you I worry about what goes into some of the supermarket hand washes and started to make my own soap. I’m very anti anti-bacterial too.Thanks for sharing – isn’t it fun that Celia started this?

    • Roz, the soap is a bit scary, big, square and rock hard and doesn’t lather like a traditional soap but let me tell you its been so good on my skin, I’ll never go back…
      The packet of 6 is only $7 and it lasts me a good year and half. Each block goes a LONG way….

  6. Am keyboarding with fervent hope that your changeover traumas will soon settle into an acceptable pattern. Do remember we will be here whenever you can manage: your ‘terrible twos’ offspring will need the extra hugs and kisses 🙂 ! Love the idea of your Aleppo soap, but may I say ‘no’ to the coffee: not that I do not like or use the brew, but had a housekeeper from the area for quite awhile, tried it many a time . . . and my insides simply could not quite cope . . . 🙂 !

    • Thanks so much Eha 🙂
      Yes Lebanese/Turkish/Armenian coffee is certainly an acquired taste. It’s not something I drink every day, maybe once a fortnight, but when I do it certainly goes down a treat and has me bouncing off the walls for the next couple of hours 😉

  7. It does sound like you’ve had the most busy month. I remember having two-year olds and they’re not easy! I love the sound of the soup and I’ll have to look out for it when I next venture near a Middle Eastern store xx

    • I’m not sure where you live Charlie, but I bought the soap from Oriental and Continental foods in Artarmon. It’s so cheap, the bag of 6 which last me a year and half (each block goes a long way) is only $7.

  8. I’m not sure what started the trend for clothes stores branching out into cookware, but it’s not unique to Sussan. My sister manages a Portmans store, and for christmas last year she gave me: an apron with matching baking mitts, a canape cookbook, a cookie embosser and these gorgeous tiny silicone birds in bright colours that sit on your wine glass – so you can distinguish which glass is your own. All from Portmans. Madness!
    I love your pink induction cooktop 🙂

    • It’s funny though, the moment you stop looking for something it appears in front of your eyes in the most unexpected place. Like if I were looking for your cookie embosser, there is no way it would EVER cross my mind to search Portmans! I wonder what goes through the heads of these Marketing Executives and Purchasers. That said, the plan must be working considering we both have kitchen items in our cupboards from clothing stores!! xx

  9. What a busy month you’ve had! I’m going to look out for that soap – I’ve never seen it before, but they might have it at Harkola. And the chocolate sauce sounds divine – I reckon I’d be popping it into the microwave for a daily dip.. 😉

    • Celia, Harkola would most definitely have it. Even if you don’t have particularly sensitive skin, it still makes for a wonderful natural product. Use it in the kitchen and shower too 🙂
      The Heston chocolate sauce didn’t last very long in our kitchen at all!

  10. I need to look for that soap the next time I’m shopping for Middle Eastern spices. Thanks for the tip, Lisa. I tasted my first Turkish coffee while in Istanbul and had no idea of the “surprise” at the bottom of the cup. Instead I drank it as I would espresso in Rome, a first sip and then I downed the cupful. The horror! Never did that again, though I did enjoy the coffee many times afterward. 🙂 Thanks for the peak into your kitchen, Lisa.

  11. Oh busy times but hope the new job is what you were after. I am intrigued by the soap – must check out our local middle eastern stores – the chocolate sauce sounds lovely and I love how sussan’s have the little gifts section though it is often too tempting and I have to look away and remember gifts I have bought and not given yet 🙂

  12. Oh my stars! What an incredibly hectic time you’ve been having! I’m impressed you posted anything, let alone this very interesting peek in your kitchen. I am intrigued by the Ghar soap. The Heston chocolate sauce also caught my eye, as I am partial to anything chocolate! Thanks for sharing!

  13. I like Aleppo soap also. A friend from the USA put us on to it as she lived in the Middle East many years ago. When we went to Syria in 2010, we stayed in the heart of the souk and bought soap as gifts for these same friends. They were thrilled. It was interesting to see that the soap is graded in a similar fashion to olive oil and spices. They tried to upsell us of course but we stuck to the budget! We have only a few small pieces left so I was interested to hear that you can pick it up at the Middle Eastern grocers. So there you go – you’re blog is interesting and has been helpful too.

  14. After all the things you’ve been through, sitting down to a good cup of coffee and some baklava sounds like a much needed treat! Thanks for taking time to do an IMK post in the midst of your transition — so nice to meet you.

  15. That soap looks very interesting. Olive oil make such a nourishing soap. I have been making my own soap for years and now I won’t even travel without it. Anything mass produced just dries my skin. It’s not too hard if you want to give it a go but don’t tackle it with a child around. I had one of those egg holders years ago in a cupboard and when I decided it would be great to use I couldn’t find it. It must have gone out in a clean up.

  16. Lisa-I’d love to find some of that soap! My daughter has a bit of OCD and it affects the amount of hand washing she does. When her hands are raw and chaffed i do wonder about what kinds of chemicals are in the soap I buy.

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